Friday night was many things. For starters it was Culture Night, and my daughter Elizabeth was singing at an event in Dublin so I wasn’t able to get out to Bray to see Wanderers take on Limerick in a game we needed to win. Friday was also REM Day [the band, not the type of sleep, although the former is named after the latter I suppose].
Bray’s loss to Limerick on Friday effectively relegated us. I know there is still a mathematical possibility we will stay up. It involves us winning our last three games, Limerick losing theirs and a 25 goal swing going our way. All that just to secure a play-off spot, not actual safety. It’s not going to happen. There’s a mathematical possibility that I’ll win the Lotto this week but that’s unlikely to happen either.
The game is up. We’re back in the First Division for 2019, for the first time since 2004. Limerick may yet still join us. 14 consecutive seasons in the top flight [surpassed only by Bohemians and St Patrick’s Athletic from the Class of 2018] is something to be immensely proud of. We want to get back and we’ll build to get back. Our new owners are the right people to plan for the future and to execute that plan. They will bring the supporters along with them.
Lots of REM songs were going around in my head on Friday, with it being REM Day and me being a fan of the band. The one that seemed to settle at the top of the playlist though was ‘’It’s the End Of The World As We Know It [And I Feel Fine]’’ from the 1987 ‘’Document’’ album. For Bray, it certainly was the end of the world as we’ve come to know it. I still felt fine though, because I’ve always enjoyed our stays in the First Division. We’re always competitivethere, scrapping for promotion. You go to every match expecting a win rather than fearing a hiding.
Friday night was a time for consoling myself though. I listened to the recording of Elizabeth at her concert, and I listened to lots of REM. Back in 2011 [on 21 September] REM did the decent thing. They retired gracefully via an announcement on their website. They felt their musical journey had run its course and pulled the plug themselves. They left on an artistic high – their fifteenth and final studio album ‘’Collapse Into Now’’ was a tour-de-force, and the band refused to cash in on a lucrative farewell tour as they felt they would just be going through the motions. So they just announced their farewell, put down their instruments and walked off into the sunset, leaving us their wonderful canon of work as their legacy.
Singer Michael Stipe was often accused of writing gibberish lyrics, and the band refused for years to include lyric sheets with their albums. Was this fair? I’m a fan of the band but I agree the criticism is valid. But that’s not really the point. Stipe’s voice is a thing of beauty and the lyrics are just material for him to vocalise with alongside Peter Buck’s guitar and the rhythm section of Bill Berry on drums and Mike Mills on bass. He could sing in an obscure language and I’d still be impressed.
The lyrics to the aforementioned ‘’It’s The End Of The World As We Know It [And I Feel Fine]’’ sum up the appeal and also the problem. On the one hand it is a homage to Bob Dylan’s ‘’Subterranean Homesick Blues’’ but on the other hand it can give you brain ache to try to interpret for deeper meaning! This song, by the way, was played continuously for 24 hours by WENZ 107.4 FM in Cleveland Ohio in 1992 to introduce their new format.